I've broken down this list into two parts: the three best books I read this year, a number chosen simply because there are three that stand out, in my mind, above all the rest. Next is a list of honorable mentions, books that I enjoyed, liked, & even loved, though they didn't quite match up to the caliber of the first three. And here they are!
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola YoonThis is the most recently read book on my list of favorites, so I remember it well, but truly, it's one of the most beautiful love stories I've ever read. Its main characters are Natasha, an undocumented immigrant being deported back to Jamaica, & Daniel, a Korean-American under parental pressure to become a doctor. It follows them through the course of one life-altering day, then revisits their story a decade later.
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste NgWhen beloved eldest daughter Lydia is found drowned in a nearby pond, her Chinese American family struggles to come to terms with her death & to figure out whether it was murder, suicide, or an accident. This character-driven novel goes deep into family dynamics, the unique challenges of being a minority in America in the 1970s, & the ways we all struggle to understand those we love most. Truly, this book is a work of art.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieBy now, everyone knows of this incredibly told love story of Ifemelu & Obinze, who, by the end of this book, felt like close friends who I'd known all my life. This is an incredible novel about blackness (African, American, & otherwise), about life as an immigrant, about the challenges of poverty & wealth - & about the struggles unique to each of those elements that are, somehow, still universal, relatable, & human. It is one of the best books you will ever read.
Honorable Mentions: I read plenty of books this year - far more than I'm naming here - that I really enjoyed reading & that have stuck with me beyond their end, despite not making it to the tip-top of my favorites list. Here's a roundup of the best of the bunch.
- The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant (adult fiction)
- Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman by Lindy West (memoir)
- Siracusa by Delia Ephron (adult fiction)
- Local Girls by Caroline Zancan (YA fiction)
- The Distance from A to Z by Natalie Blitt (YA fiction)
- Violent Ends edited by Shaun David Hutchinson (YA fiction)
- Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming (memoir)
PS: My book posts include Amazon affiliate links to the titles I discuss. If you buy a book using one of these links, I will receive a small percentage of commission. Please don't feel any obligation to use these links, but please also don't judge me too harshly for including them!